Cape Elizabeth’s proposed $18.6 million municipal budget for the upcoming fiscal year is up 1.8%, or $323,104, over this year’s.

The plan, which includes hiring a new firefighter, adding a part-time position for a student at the library and increased expenses for the November election, is making its way through the annual budget process and is subject to changes by the Town Council. As it stands now, it would result in a 2.9% increase in property taxes to support town services.

Representatives of the police and fire departments, Thomas Memorial Library, the Assessing, Code Enforcement and Planning Department and the Town Clerk’s Office on Monday explained their budget requests to the Town Council Finance Committee.

The Fire Department proposes a $1.3 million budget, up roughly $69,000 from this year. The main driver for the increase is to hire a new firefighter position to fully staff the night shift at a cost of $135,000.

The EMS Department’s proposed budget of $783,300 is up $14,000 from this year’s.

Police Chief Paul Fenton’s budget proposal of $2.2 million is $7,000 less than this year’s budget. The department is fully staffed, he said, but five officers are eligible for retirement. Over $1.4 million of the new budget is for full-time employee payroll.


Calls for service are up 40%, from 7,838 last year to 10,981 this year, which Fenton attributed to being fully staffed and the pandemic subsiding.

“A lot of that is self-initiative by the officers,” he said, in the form of traffic stops and other interactions with the public. Training, at the cost of over $110,000, is another expense Fenton said is critical.

Thomas Memorial Library’s proposed budget is $729,000, a roughly $41,000 increase over this year. In addition to funding its nine full-time and three part-time staff members, the library hopes to add a part-time position for a high school student, said Library Director Rachel Davis.

“(We’re) trying something that I’ve been wanting to do for a few years, which is to make a 10-hour per week paid position for a high school student,” Davis said.

A main discussion point of the Assessing, Code Enforcement and Planning Department’s proposed $601,000 budget, up $26,000 from this year, at Monday’s workshop was the town’s investment in its Geographical Information System, nearly $20,000 this year.

“It’s a mapping system of the entire town,” Planning Director Maureen O’Meara said, and the system is routinely used by planning and assessing staff as well as Public Works. Other departments sporadically request maps, she said, such as the Fire Department, which recently requested a map of all of the hydrants in town.


Town Clerk Angela Frawley said she needs $110,400 to cover the cost of elections in the new fiscal year, specifically the presidential election in November.

“Cape Elizabeth voter turnout in the last presidential election approached 90%,” Frawley said. “As a reference, approximately two-thirds of voters nationally turned out for that same election.”

Preparing for a large number of voters requires increased costs in part-time employees, as well as renting equipment and printing more ballots. The proposed election budget sets $79,500 aside for part-time workers in the month before the election.

Other departments made presentations to the council on Thursday, after the Southern Forecaster’s print deadline. Both of this week’s workshops are viewable on the town’s YouTube Channel.

The school department will deliver its proposed budget to the council for review by April 15 and will give a presentation to the council on April 22. A public hearing on both budgets will be held on May 6, with final council action being taken on May 13. Voters will decide on the school budget on June 11.

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